Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: To free the kingdom from the depravity of Cardinal Aldrious, Prince Micah Helvendeere must take his rightful place as ruler.
Unfortunately, the prince has been dead for a year.
Billiam Grimhart, former page to the prince, knows Micah’s assumption of the throne is the last chance to purge Casperland of the cardinal’s corruption. And for that to happen, the prince must be revived. Only one person stands a chance of achieving the nearly impossible: exiled enchantress Shemmy DuBois, a raunchy bog witch with an affinity for corpses and a heart of gold. Billiam sets out to coax Shemmy to their cause, despite what wading through piles of bodies will do to his favorite shoes.
If he can accomplish it, Billiam might finally get to consummate his love for the prince—something Shemmy is keen to witness. But first, they’ll need to steal Micah’s body, brave a land inhabited by vicious faeries, and accept the help of accomplices as vile and perverse as their enemies. They might be far from typical heroes, but sometimes those are the only people who can get the job done.
If you like dark and edgy high-concept fantasy that’s not for those with delicate sensibilities, join Billiam, Shemmy, and their Faelock allies as they stage their revolution.
Review: This book is bizarre. There’s really no other way to describe it. I have no problem with bizarre and wholly embrace it. Which is why I had to check out this book. The blurb intrigued me. I don’t need a traditional romance though there are romantic story lines throughout the book. One is particularly cutesy sweet. The cast of characters is fairly big and free loving. So there’s some random hook ups and then there’s those couplings with emotion behind them. It’s mainly the MCs Billiam and Prince. The Prince who is revived after being dead or in a dead state for some years and his attendant who fell in love with him Billiam. Basically there’s a Cardinal with magic who rose to power through the religion that’s taken over the land. Now he’s able to act out all his evil and sexual desires with that gained power stolen from the Prince he tortured and killed. Or caused his death? That’s a murky area but whatever. To gain this power the Cardinal ripped away all the Prince’s allies thus leaving him stranded at the castle at his mercy. Billiam and his Logos, a team of trained soldiers sworn to protect the royal family, devise a plan as soon as they’re able to rescue the Prince. Their plan is to convince an exiled woman with a power for reviving the dead name Shemmy. Shemmy has lived in the woods by herself with all the dead dumped by the Cardinal’s whims and wars for years. She’s extremely odd and socially inept. Everything in her head flies out of her mouth. Billiam convinces her to join their quest to bring the Prince back to life.
Whew! I’m still having a hard time trying to reconcile all that I just read. On one hand the world building and premise is very unique and intriguing. I like the idea of them saving the Prince and taking out the supremely evil Cardinal. Gaining back the throne and once again making allies with neighboring lands. Shemmy’s powers of reanimating are pretty fascinating and slowly they realize she can do so much more. The Logos split up into groups to make their plan a success and the over all plot is compelling. There’s a lot still up in the air however so maybe that’s what was driving me to figure out what’s going on. Particularly how the Five families and what their part in all this madness is.
The thing that I’m struggling with is the characters. They’re all over the place and borderline ridiculous at times. I literally couldn’t get a sense of who they were. One minute they’re sweet. The next evil and violent. The next they’re lovey dovey and hugging people they were just mean to. The next they’re throwing tantrums. Powers come out of nowhere. For me this is a huge problem. If I’m reading a 300 page story I better have a sense of who the hell the characters are at the end of that book. I’m still clueless at this point. I know the author told me a character is this but then five pages later he’s something contradictory. To enjoy this book I tried to just roll with it but for me it was my biggest struggle of the entire book. And it’s a constant struggle. Most of the characters aren’t even likable which is fine. It’s that they do something awful and then we’re meant to be okay with them and then hate them later. I think they were meant to be complex but for me all the characters came off as scatter brained and emotional volatile wrecks. It’s jolting and kept me disconnected from engaging in their story.
The entire book is told from the POV of a secondary character not always on page so there are moments in the beginning that confused me with the large cast. Once I settled in I was fine. Shemmy’s character is particularly nutty with a strong brogue but also endearing. She and one of the Fae characters Leke were my favorites. Weirdly enough the MCs were my least. They’re a little too sweet together and nasty to others at times for my tastes. There’s some prejudice surrounding same sex couples in this world and it’s caused some problems that continue to haunt some characters in this story. Honestly there was SO much going on this book I can’t even get into it all. Suffice to say this book is not for everyone. Heck it’s probably not for most. I had about 100 WTF moments while reading this book. I didn’t hate it by any means. It’s just a really really odd story with crazy (literally) characters. I didn’t see it until the end of the book but there is an appendix at the back of the book you might want to read first if you’re picking up this book. It certainly gives a ton of back story that I missed out on.